Two days and counting until Valentine's Day. For me, cooking for someone is love and love is cooking for someone and my love certainly isn't limited to one day a year. But I'm no grinch either. February 14th is a sweet little opportunity to make something extra lovely and so this year my Valentine gets this fancy-pants nutty chocolate tart.
The recipe is from my book, The Greyston Bakery Cookbook, and it is one of just a few in the book based directly on an original Greyston recipe. While theirs is filled with walnuts, I like to bust out a little and try other nuts.
Here, I made it with pecans simply because I didn't have walnuts on hand. With the leftover pastry dough I made a mini-tart for a friend with sliced almonds (below). Both were great. Pine nuts? Chopped hazelnuts? Go for it! Just do it with love.
Chocolate Walnut Tart
Makes one 9” tart, 8-10 servings
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
6 ounces good-quality bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons light corn syrup or golden syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups chopped toasted walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts or other nuts
1 partially-baked 9-inch Tart Pastry (see below), cooled
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F.
In the top of a double boiler or bowl set over simmering water, combine the butter, 4 ounces of the chocolate, and the cream. Stir until the mixture is melted and smooth. Remove the chocolate from the heat and cool slightly.
In a medium bowl, whisk the egg, sugar, corn syrup, and vanilla to blend thoroughly. Stir in the chocolate mixture and then the walnuts.
Pour the filling into the tart shell. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the filling has set. Remove the pan from the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool for at least 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small double boiler or a bowl set over simmering water, melt the remaining 2 ounces chocolate over low heat. Dip a fork into the chocolate and drizzle it back and forth over the tart. Let the finished tart sit for 15 minutes before serving.
Serving suggestion: Serve with a dollop of Spiked Whipped Cream made with brandy or bourbon.
Makes one 9-inch tart shell, plus a small amount left over
1 1/4 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into very small pieces and chilled
1-3 tablespoons ice water (or as needed)
In a bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt to blend thoroughly. Using a pastry blender, metal pastry scraper, two knives, or your fingers, cut or rub the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. (Work quickly to keep the butter cold.)
Using a fork, stir in the ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, adding just enough for the dough to hold together without becoming wet. Gather the dough into a ball and then flatten it into a disk. Wrap the disk of dough in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.
With food processor:
In the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Add the butter and process, using short pulses, until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.
With the machine running, add the water through the feed tube, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough begins to form into a ball. Remove the dough from the food processor and flatten into a disk. Wrap the disk of dough in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.
Form the shell:
Remove the dough from the refrigerator. With a rolling pin on a lightly floured board, roll the dough to form a rough circle about 1/4" thick. Carefully transfer the dough to a 9” fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the dough lightly but snugly into the edges of the pan, allowing the excess dough to hang over the edges of the pan. Roll the rolling pin over the top of pan to trim the excess dough from the pan rim. Pierce the bottom of the dough several times with the tines of a fork. Chill for at least 30 minutes before baking.
The tart shell is now ready to bake, partially-bake, or be frozen for up to 1 month for future use. If freezing, wrap tightly with plastic wrap, taking care to press the plastic against the surface of the dough.
For a partially-baked shell:
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F. Line the chilled shell with foil or parchment and fill the shell with pie weights, dried beans, or raw rice.
Bake the shell about 12 minutes, or until the pastry is set and golden. Carefully remove the foil or parchment and weights and continue to bake the shell another 10-15 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown. If the edges start to brown too much, cover them with strips of foil or piecrust shields. Cool on a rack.